OAKLAND, Calif. - Dream Week has extended into a Frightful Fortnight. After going 0-3 last week at the Garden against three of the NBA's best teams, the Knicks are now winless in the first two games of this three-game West Coast trip after Tuesday's 144-127 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
In a game between two of the league's most potent offenses, it was defense and turnovers that hurt the Knicks the most in one of the ugliest losses of the season. The trip ends Wednesday against the Clippers in Los Angeles before the NBA breaks for the All-Star Game this weekend.
The Knicks (21-30), who have lost five straight, appear to need the break, if anything just to get healthy. Chris Duhon played on a sprained ankle and eventually had to come out of the game in the fourth. Tim Thomas missed the second half with a groin strain and Quentin Richardson did not play because of a bruised chest muscle.
Nate Robinson led the Knicks with 30 points off the bench and David Lee added 27 points and 11 rebounds. Al Harrington, who heard boos from the Bay Area crowd in his first game against his former team following the Nov. 21 trade, had 24 points, but only two in the second half. Rookie Danilo Gallinari, in his second straight start, had six points and did not record a rebound or assist in 15:10.
Stephen Jackson had 35 points and 10 assists for Golden State (18-35), which used a 20-9 run to open the fourth quarter and blow open the game. Jackson drilled a pull-up with 6:41 left to give the Warriors a 125-104 lead.
The Knicks, who totaled 16 turnovers, gave up 79 second-half points. The 144 points is the most scored in the NBA this season.Former Knick Jamal Crawford had 21 points and seven assists for the Warriors, who had eight players in double figures.
Harrington played with an obvious chip on his shoulder, which he made quite evident on his first shot of the game. After he nailed a three-pointer, Harrington waved his arms to the booing crowd. From that point on he was a target of the Golden State fans and Harrington seemed to thrive on it.
But the battle really wasn't with the fans as much as it was between Harrington and Warriors coach Don Nelson. Harrington clashed with Nelson during his time with the Warriors and eventually demanded a trade at the end of last season. He opened this season playing in five games before the issue between he and Nelson became enough of a distraction that the team sent Harrington away (though they called it a "back injury").
"I just didn't see eye to eye with him," Harrington said of Nelson. "I didn't like him and he didn't like me."
Before the game, Nelson said Harrington "made it personal" between the two and accused Harrington of demanding a trade because he was going into an option year and wanted to be the go-to guy on offense.
"Money has a lot to do with motivation for players to move on," Nelson said. "And he was wanting to opt out and he needed to have a big year and didn't think he was going to be like the third player here, the third- best player here, and he wanted to be the best player. Now he's the best player, so good luck to him. He's happy, I'm happy."
When this was relayed to Harrington before the game, he let out a "Wow" and added, "Me and him never had any of those conversations. I think he just made that up. I didn't say that."
Nelson actually admitted that Harrington never directly told him anything about contract concerns, "but it was obvious that he was going to opt out early."
Harrington got in the last shot. He said when he talks to his former Warriors teammates who are struggling under Nelson, he tells them to "try to weather this 'Nellie Storm,' because he's been known to ruin guys' careers."